WWE SummerSlam 2014: Final Picks and Predictions for All Matches on the Card

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2014

WWE SummerSlam 2014: Final Picks and Predictions for All Matches on the Card

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE SummerSlam is this weekend and the company has gone all out to promote a show worthy of the spectacle that comes along with the second most important show of the year.

    John Cena defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar in the night's biggest match. The Beast Incarnate has dominated any and all competition put in his way over the last year. On Sunday night, he will have the opportunity to cap his impressive run off with another title reign.

    Stephanie McMahon returns to the ring for the first time in over a decade as she meets Brie Bella in the most anticipated women's match in years. There is a great deal of pressure on both women, given the level of exposure they received on WWE programming as of late, and all eyes will be on them to see if they can deliver on the enormous stage.

    Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho will look to put away hated villains Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt respectively, in three huge singles bouts that all have huge implications on the future of the company.

    With so many contests to be legitimately excited about and so many long-reaching effects on WWE as a company and promotion, SummerSlam 2014 could prove to be one of the biggest and most historical in the 27-year history of the show.

    Gear up for the show by taking a look at these last-minute predictions.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Upon returning from filming The Marine 4, The Miz adopted the persona of a Hollywood Superstar and it has benefited his career tremendously. He captured the Intercontinental Championship, and now at the second-most important show of the year, he defends against No. 1 contender Dolph Ziggler.

    Since winning the title, Miz has been a thorn in Ziggler's side but has experienced his fair share of torment in the process. Both Superstars have taken turns one-upping the other, costing them losses on the road to SummerSlam. WWE's resident Showoff teased, kicking the champion in his so-called "moneymaker," forcing Miz to hit the ground—proving how easily Ziggler could knock his lights out if he so pleased.

    The Miz's determination to protect his face at all costs figures to play a key role in Sunday's match. Will that determination open him up to defeat or could he possibly use it as a weapon against Ziggler, whose overconfidence could prove costly.

    A successful title defense for The Miz would mean the continuation of his title reign, which has done wonders for his career. After being lost in the shuffle a year ago, he has rebounded nicely and is again showing why he was such a quality heel in the past. Dropping the title at this stage would undo all of the work WWE Creative has done in rebuilding Miz into a legitimate contender.

    Ziggler is everything past WWE Intercontinental champions were. He is a consistently great wrestler, a hard worker and respected by fans and peers alike. He could easily carry the title and, in the process, return some prestige to it.


    Prediction: The Miz

    There is just too much time and energy invested in Miz at this point to take the title off of him after only a month. Expect a hard-fought match between two guys with considerable in-ring chemistry. It should serve as a fitting opener to a hot card but no title change is forecast.

Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee vs. Paige

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    Credit: WWE.com

    At Battleground, AJ Lee defeated Paige to retain the Divas Championship, despite a tremendous effort from the second-generation ring warrior. At first, it appeared as though Paige was relatively okay with the loss. After all, she was beaten cleanly by a better woman, and she applauded her opponent following the defeat.

    Eventually, she turned on AJ, brutally and violently attacking her on an episode of Raw. It was a moment that added a necessary edge to Paige and helped write the next chapter in the rivalry between the two alternative Divas.

    There were serious doubts about AJ's health after a sneak attack on a recent episode of SmackDown saw Paige shove her off the stage and to the arena floor, causing a whiplash injury and putting the Divas champion on the shelf for a brief period of time.

    Since that night, Paige has repeatedly gotten over on AJ, costing her two consecutive matches against Eva Marie and leaving her lying following the Paige Turner on the August 15 episode of SmackDown.


    Prediction: AJ Lee

    That Paige has tormented AJ as often as she has means that it is the champion's turn to stand tall. A fluky pinfall would allow the program to continue and, more importantly, could lead to a further descent into madness and rage for the young British competitor.

    If that is the case, expect the feud between these two extremely talented individuals to rage on well into the fall months as they attempt to rebuild women's wrestling in WWE.

Flag Match: Jack Swagger vs. Rusev

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE Battleground saw Rusev narrowly escape defeat at the hands of Jack Swagger when he sent the former World Heavyweight champion into the steel post and won the match via countout. It was a disappointing conclusion for Swagger, who had experienced tremendous fanfare and a substantial push in the weeks leading into the pay-per-view.

    As it turned out, that loss was not the end of this program between the two powerhouses, and their international conflict continued on for another month.

    For weeks, the Superstars have waved their respective nations' flags with great pride in between incredibly competitive matches. With every passing bout, Swagger came closer and closer to being the man to definitively defeat Rusev and deal him his first pinfall or submission loss.

    He will have yet another chance Sunday at SummerSlam when he meets the Bulgarian Brute in a rare Flag match.

    The only way to win is to retrieve your country's flag.

    The outcome allows Rusev to lose without actually losing but one has to question whether WWE sees Swagger as someone they have long-term plans for or not. If the answer is "no," then there is no way he should beat Rusev and unravel all of the hype and build that has gone into the Bulgarian star.


    Prediction: Rusev

    There is more money in Rusev at this point in time. Ruining any future potential for a one-night happy ending would be a major mistake and one that cannot be undone, regardless of how hard WWE Creative may try.

Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Chris Jericho's win over Bray Wyatt at Battleground was surprising to many, especially since the hero vanquishing evil is usually preserved for the end of the story.

    Though the story has managed to stretch on for another month, nothing of note has happened that fans had not already seen before. Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have left Y2J lying on a number of occasions and the two Superstars had a tense face-to-face conversation on the August 11 episode of Raw, but outside of that development of their rivalry has been relatively nonexistent.

    Jericho and Wyatt enter SummerSlam with a rivalry that is ice cold. Though attention will be on them and them alone, thanks to the banishment of Harper and Rowan by way of two hard-fought Jericho wins, it will be hard for fans to get up for a match they have no reason to be invest in.

    Why is Wyatt targeting Jericho, other than because he sees the ring veteran as a false savior—a shoddy excuse at best? Why is Y2J even wasting time with a guy he beat cleanly a month ago?

    It does not make sense, and as a result, Jericho unfortunately enters another SummerSlam event part of an afterthought of a storyline.


    Prediction: Bray Wyatt

    Wyatt is desperately in need of something to get him back to the creative heights he experienced when feuding with John Cena. The loss to the leader of the Cenation did tremendous damage to the Eater of Worlds, who finds himself at the center of a meaningless rivalry with a Superstar who deserves much better than that.

    A win would at least give him a bit of momentum entering Night of Champions next month, while a defeat would do little to hurt Jericho, who is destined for Hall of Fame enshrinement either way.

Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

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    Credit: WWE.com

    One of the most anticipated matches on the SummerSlam card, the Lumberjack match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will either definitively conclude their heated rivalry or serve as a catapult for a much more emotional, violent bout a month from now at Night of Champions.

    Either way, the fans in Los Angeles will greet the contest with tremendous heat, especially considering the strong storytelling and booking of the rivalry to this point.

    Ambrose and Rollins have repeatedly brawled on Raw and SmackDown but have always been separated in some form or fashion, robbing fans of an elongated beating dealt by Ambrose to his former friend, tag team partner and "brother."

    After disrespecting the Money in the Bank briefcase and costing Rollins a match against Heath Slater on the August 4 episode of Raw, Ambrose selected a Lumberjack match stipulation for their bout at SummerSlam.

    Designed to keep Rollins from running away, the match will featured 20 Superstars surrounding the ring, prepared to throw either competitor back into the squared circle if they somehow wind up on the arena floor. Interestingly enough, most of the men outside the ring have been assaulted and left lying by the Shield, meaning they are unlikely to show favoritism toward either Superstar.


    Prediction: Dean Ambrose

    After months of having his attempts to avenge Rollins' betrayal cut off by the Authority, Ambrose should win here and momentarily provide fans with that happy ending they so cherish.

    Do not be surprised, though, if Rollins has the last laugh by night's end...

Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Stephanie McMahon's continuous torment of former WWE World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan and wife Brie Bella has resulted in one of the highest profile matches on the SummerSlam card: a match involving the strong women.

    Slaps, catfights and arrests have generated incredible responses from the WWE Universe, while Stephanie showed her physical superiority by delivering Pedigrees to both Brie and Nikki Bella. 

    The beautiful twin has ridden a roller coaster of emotion over the last year, experiencing joy when her husband captured the top prize in wrestling and sadness when she watched his dreams turn to nightmares with the constant interference in his life by the Authority and the injury that put him out of action indefinitely.

    She has turned that sadness into anger in various confrontations with Stephanie, refusing to be walked over by the abusive authority figure. The character development has allowed Brie to enjoy the most television exposure of her career, culminating in the biggest match she will ever wrestle.


    Prediction: Brie Bella

    Brie will win Sunday night because she has to. There is no other suitable outcome. The entire story has been built around good conquering bad, hero conquering villain and Brie Bella pinning Stephanie McMahon's shoulders to the mat in a match that will likely surprise fans in terms of quality, thanks to effective booking and extracurricular activity.

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There is no Superstar benefiting from a stronger push this summer than Roman Reigns. 

    Since the Shield imploded on June 2, the second-generation star has been catapulted to the top of the card, partaking in WWE World Heavyweight Championship bouts and squaring off with the top stars in the industry.

    Sunday night at SummerSlam, he will attempt to exorcise the biggest demon in his career as he squares off with Randy Orton.

    After months spent as the Authority's lapdog, Orton rediscovered his inner Viper, brutally and viciously assaulting Reigns a few weeks back on Raw and making it crystal clear that no amount of momentum or determination will help Reigns get past the former 14-time heavyweight champion without a fight.

    The increase in intensity and aggression should make for a much more physical, hard-hitting bout between the two, something that will benefit it in terms of heat and reaction.

    There is no real question regarding the outcome, but there is in terms of quality. Orton has developed into one of the best workers in the world over the last four years and worked show-stealing matches with Superstars of all sizes, shapes and styles. If Reigns can carry his share of the load, there is no reason to believe the match will disappoint.


    Prediction: Roman Reigns

    There is no stopping Roman Reigns at this point, something Randy Orton will find out Sunday night when he meets the former Shield member in a huge singles contest.

    Getting past Orton will free Reigns up to re-enter the title picture or begin a rivalry with Triple H, which would be a high profile bout that could attract more WWE Network subscribers for September's Night of Champions pay-per-view.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Champ. The Beast. Sunday night, John Cena and Brock Lesnar battle for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a rematch of their Extreme Rules 2012 classic.

    The build for the match has been limited to some absolutely extraordinary promos by Paul Heyman and a single video package that did more to put over the match than anything WWE Creative team could have ever come up with.

    Lesnar has consistently and repeatedly expressed his desire to not only beat Cena but also tear him limb from limb. Cena, on the other hand, has determination and heart on his side. He is not ready to give up his 15th heavyweight title yet, and for anyone to take it from him, they will have to leave him in a heap in the center of the ring, proving without a shadow of a doubt that they are the superior competitor.

    After beating Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX and instantly becoming the most detestable man in the sport, Lesnar rolls into SummerSlam as the heavy favorite to leave with the title. After all, if the Phenom could not stop his reign of terror over WWE, how could Cena?


    Prediction: John Cena via disqualification

    Brock Lesnar's part-time schedule sets up a booking dilemma for WWE. Putting the title on him would mean months without a championship to promote main events around. How would WWE Creative respond to that crutch no longer being available to them?

    At the same time, booking Lesnar to lose would be a huge mistake. He is incredibly hot at this point and can serve great purpose as WWE continues to elevate young talent to key spots on the roster.

    Which brings us to option C.

    Lesnar could brutalize Cena, drawing a disqualification, but not before leaving the champion unconscious or, at the very least, unable to defend himself. This, of course, would bring out Seth Rollins, who would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and capture the title.

    While he may not be ready to fill that role on WWE programming, Rollins cashing in really is one of the better options the company has at its disposal.